Tour Locations | Walk the Highlights of Medieval Bath
LOCATION 1 | Walk the Highlights of Medieval Bath
Start: Bath Visitor Information Centre
Hello my friend and welcome to the beautiful city of Bath. The entire place is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is famous for its mineral-rich, hot, but also magical waters - However, this is also a city with a great deal of culture and comes with over 2000 years of history!
My name is Andy and as someone who was born and grew up here, I'm very happy to walk with you today around the old and medieval town and provide a local’s knowledge of this incredible place.
You should be standing in an area called Terrace Walk and in front of the Visitor Information Centre, with The Huntsman pub next door to your left and also just opposite the Abbey Hotel.
We'll be spending a few minutes here before we get going.
You’ll be surrounded on three sides by grand-looking buildings, made from honey-coloured limestone, created during Bath’s Renaissance in the 18th century, while the open side looks east to one of Bath’s seven hills, all rising over 200 metres. Locally, the area in which you are standing is known as ‘Bog Island’, not because the area was ever naturally too muddy when it got its name, but because in the 19th century, public toilets were built under the road level and in England, you can often hear the term ‘bog’ being used as a substitute for toilet or washroom, hence Bog Island!
However, to set the scene, it is best to think of Bath as four cities in one! – First came the ancient Roman city known as Aqua Sulis, starting 2000 years ago and ending 400 years later when the Roman empire said goodbye or should I say ‘arrivederci’ from this province they called Britannia. Next was the medieval city of the Saxons from Germany who decided they also liked this country after the departure of the Romans, followed by the Normans from France who thought they deserved ownership of this green and pleasant land a 1000 years ago. The third city is the Neo-classical city of the 18th & 19th century, followed by the forth city of the Victorian era from the 1830s and up to and including the present modern city. All four can be seen on today’s tour; however, it is the first two - the ancient and medieval cities which existed up to 300 years ago, that we’ll look at today.
Our tour today starts here and stays within the walls of the ancient and medieval cities. However, there is virtually no city wall left standing anymore, as it was demolished to allow for the expansion of Bath at the start of Bath’s renaissance 300 years ago. This was a stone-built, battlemented wall, with strategically placed towers, two kilometres in circumference, standing around 5 metres high, with wooden entrance gates and that lasted for 1700 years.
Before we get moving, let me briefly explain how VoiceMap works.
It uses your location to play audio automatically, at the right time and place. This means that you can put your phone away now. Don't worry if I'm silent at times, when I'm not giving directions or telling stories. There's a map on your screen if you ever feel lost, and if you do get way off track without noticing, VoiceMap will let you know.
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Now that the scene has been set, let’s get going!
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If you're facing the Visitor Centre, turn to your left and walk just a few steps along the front of the Huntsman pub and with the Abbey Hotel facing you, before turning right into the passageway called North Parade Passage. Walk along the passage for just a few steps to where it opens on your left, opposite your next stop.